Three Democrat senators remain holdouts
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) this week threw his support behind the PRO Act, saying it will “level the playing field” for workers.
The PRO Act would block so-called “right-to-work” laws, which allow people who benefit from union representation and the union contract’s wages and benefits to opt-out of membership and paying dues, and would impose tougher restrictions on companies seeking to prevent unionization efforts.
The PRO Act passed in the House last month in a narrow, party-line vote of 225-206, with just five GOP members supporting it and one Democrat voting against.
Machin’s support brings the number of U.S. Senate co-sponsors to 47 in the evenly divided Senate.
“The West Virginia AFL-CIO thanks Sen. Joe Manchin for signing on as a co-sponsor for H.R. 842, the PRO Act,” said West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword (AFT). “The PRO Act is how we build a better future for West Virginia’s working people. We will continue to advocate for this monumental legislation, now with Sen. Manchin’s support behind us.”
President Biden included the PRO Act in his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal, but Republicans are not expected to include it in their smaller counterproposal.
Manchin’s support is significant, but it doesn’t ensure the PRO Act will become law.
Three other Democrats – Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) – have yet to co-sponsor the bill.
Both Kelly and Warner may be facing conflicts of interest owing to their having received campaign contributions from Amazon — Kelly has received more than $139,000 from the company, while Warner has received almost $45,000. Amazon successfully fended unionization efforts at its facility in Bessemer, Alabama, earlier this month, using questionable means that would be deemed illegal if the PRO Act became law.
Speaking on a virtual event hosted by the National Press Club on April 19, Manchin said he hopes to advance the bill through a bipartisan legislative process, meaning support would be needed from at least 10 GOP senators for the measure to pass.